“I wouldn’t be surprised if we are competing for the A-Sun championship by the end of the year,” Bennett said. “I think we will be a team that surprises a lot of people this year.
“I think there is a lot of potential. The conference is such that there are a lot of close games. One of the key things is winning those close games and being consistent night in and night out.”
Senior guard Jenna Bartsokas was named to the preseason All-Conference team. Bennett points to the experience of Bartsokas, a three-year starter, and Anna Bowers and Miaca Bowman as experienced players in the backcourt that will help what will be a young group of inside players.
“Anna Bowers might be the most improved player in practice so far,” Bennett said. She is playing much more aggressively and consistently.
“Our post players are younger overall. But we have a lot of experience at guard and that is where experience matters most. I think the freshmen will help us as well and give us a little boost.”
Bennett thought Bartsokas was good enough to have made the All-Conference team last season, but he credited her omission to the Lady Bisons overall record of 5-25, 3-16 in the conference.
“I think she is one of the top guards in the A-Sun,” Bennett said. “She has a tremendous amount of experience in a lot of situations. We can count on her for both scoring and defense.”
That record also played a major role in the Lady Bisons being selected to finish last in the conference. The Lady Bisons have not competed in the A-Sun Tournament since the 2007-2008 season.
“Based on the previous season it is not too surprising where we are picked,” Bennett said. “It will be a motivational factor for our team, but more than that we are just going to try to be the best team we can be.
“There is a lot of feeling that Florida Gulf Coast and ETSU have lost some really good players. They will still be plenty good, but there may be more of a leveling than we have had in the last couple of years.”
Bartsokas has been a captain of the team the past two seasons. The Lady Bisons have not picked captains for this season, but Bennett is certain she will be called on to be one of the team leaders again.
“Jenna is such a hard worker in the off season and during the season,” Bennett said. “She works hard on the weights and her shooting.
“She is pretty quick and pretty strong. She has developed into a very good shooter. When she is shooting the three or a jump shot she doesn’t need a lot of time to get a shot off the dribble or off of a pass.”
The Lady Bisons have been involved in limited workouts. The first official practice is Friday at Ensworth.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.
2010 Women's Basketball Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team
|G||Tonisha Baker (So.)
|G||Jenna Bartsokas (Sr.)||Lipscomb|
|F/C||Jessica Conner (Sr.)||Stetson
||Tee'Ara Copney (So.)||USC Upstate|
|G||* Tara Davis (Sr.)
|F||Sametria Gideon (So.)
|G||* Brittany Kirkland (Jr.)
|C||* Chelsea McMillan (Sr.)
||* Shannon Murphy (Sr.)||FGCU
|P||* Haley Nelson (Jr.)
|* - Unanimous Selection|
|Preseason Player of the Year: Chelsea McMillan, C, USC Upstate|
2010 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (First Place Votes)
|3.||USC Upstate (2)
|Tournament Champion: ETSU (7 Votes)|
2010 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Media Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (First Place Votes)
|T2.||USC Upstate (4)
|Tournament Champion: ETSU (15 Votes)|